|Hands On: Pokemon XD
Nintendo unleashes new details and lets us play the next Pokemon
by Anoop Gantayat
July 15, 2005 - Nintendo has unleashed new details on its next
(and presumably last) GameCube Pokemon title, Pokemon XD.
Continuing along the lines of Pokemon Colosseum, XD features a
similar gameplay concept as that title and seems to even reuse
the same graphics engine.
You once again play as a nameless main character out on a quest
to free certain types of Pokemon from those intent on using them
for evil. You're a Pokemon Trainer who lives at the Pokemon
Research Facility with your mom and your younger sister Mana.
Your father was head of the facility prior to his death. Due to
some incident that will be revealed at the start of the game,
you find yourself on an adventure surrounding Dark Pokemon.
First featured in Colosseum, Dark Pokemon are Pokemon who have
had their hearts sealed shut and are used as pure fighting
machines. The only way to truly identify a Dark Pokemon is by a
purple mist that it emits when angered. You'll have to make use
of your special Snatch Machine to free the Dark Pokemon from
The main character won't be alone on his quest. The blue-haired
Mana will play an important role in the game, as will Lilia,
your mother. A character named Crain was once your father's
friend. He now heads the Pokemon Research Facility and is
developing the Revive Hall, which will be used free the Dark
Pokemon from their slavery.
You'll also head out on your journey with Pokemon at your side.
The first game started you off with two Pokemon. This time, you
have just one: Eevie. As the game advances, you'll meet some
special characters who'll help Eevie evolve into five forms. Of
course, other Pokemon will join your party in time as well.
XD is similar to Colosseum in its mix of adventure and battles,
with Pokemon battles seeming to form the main part of gameplay.
You'll face off against a number of other trainers, using your
Snatch Machine to capture their Dark Pokemon when the timing is
While Colosseum had one of your companions identify the Dark
Pokemon for you, this time around, you have a special pair of
goggles, the Aura Searcher, that allows you to do it on your
own. You also have a Snatch Machine attached to your left arm,
which is used to capture the Pokemon.
Facing off against a Dark Pokemon can be a challenge for even an
experienced trainer, as Dark Pokemon have a number of powerful
dark skills at their disposal:
Dark Attack: A standard attack against one opponent
Dark Rush: A stronger attack against one opponent
Dark Wave: A wave of light that attacks two opponents
Dark Rave: Attacks two opponents, but stronger than Dark Rave
Dark Mist: Surrounds opponent in a mist and makes evasion rating
drop two levels
Dark Half: Drops the life of all Pokemon by half.
Once you've identified Dark Pokemon using your Aura Searcher
goggles, you'll have to weaken the Pokemon using standard
attacks, then launch your Monster Ball at it. Thanks to your
Snatch Machine, the monster ball becomes a Snatch Ball, capable
of snatching an opponent's Pokemon. This is something that you'd
never do under normal circumstances, of course, but snatching a
Dark Pokemon is okay, because you're intentions are good.
Once you do get one of the Dark Pokemon in your possession,
you'll have a powerful ally and can use all its dark skills.
However, Dark Pokemon have a few weaknesses when compared to the
regular type. First off, they cannot rise in level, even though
they gain experience as they battle. Also, Dark Pokemon will
occasionally fall into what's known as "Rebirth State" during
battle. Once they fall into this state, you'll have to call them
Your eventual goal is to free your Dark Pokemon from their
slavery, which requires patience and care as a trainer. As you
call the Dark Pokemon out into battle and use its different
skills, its normal side will slowly recover. You can determine
how close a Dark Pokemon is to recovery by closely watching its
Revive Gauge. Once this Gauge reaches 0, you'll have to hold a
Revive Ceremony in order to take the last step and turn the Dark
Pokemon back to normal form.
A fully revived Dark Pokemon loses its dark skills, but slowly
begins to remember normal skills. This includes some skills that
were not present in the Game Boy Advance Pokemon games, so if
you want to use some nifty new skills, you'll have to start
catchin' those Dark Pokemon.
There may be some Dark Pokemon that cannot be revived. Taking a
special role in the game is Dark Lugia, a special form of Lugia
that has visible differences from the non-dark type. Dark Lugia
is at the center of the Pokemon XD storyline and was created
with claims that she can never be returned to normal form. Will
you be able to save Dark Lugia and revive her?
IGN got a chance to try out Pokemon XD recently. We played a
short demo featuring a brief adventure section followed by a
battle. The game seems to reuse the graphics engine from
Colosseum, resulting in a similar-looking title. Even in terms
of gameplay, differences from Colosseum are hard to spot. In
particular, we noticed that the battles are just as long as they
were in the first game, with unskippable attacks. If lengthy
battles don't bug you, and Pokemon is your thing, you should
find a lot to like in Pokemon XD.
Nintendo is planning an August 4 release date for Pokemon XD in
Japan. A US release is expected in October.